The link between good office design and productivity

Open plan is the design of choice for many facilities management companies, but new studies have shown that these large open spaces can have a negative impact on productivity.

Those workers whose roles require a quiet environment can be disrupted, which results in an output decrease. The study also shows an increase in absenteeism and a costly high turnover of staff. So what makes a good office design and happy and productive staff?

Here are 7 things to consider:

Ask your employees
Your employees know best, so involve your staff in design decisions. Once you learn more about how they work and how they think, they could work smarter, and improvements can be made to encourage maximum output from the whole team

Little things can go a long way
Whilst your staff may dream of bean bag seating and games consoles aplenty, this is not a suitable workspace for most businesses. There are some small luxuries you can offer, however, that will make your staff feel listened to and appreciated, as well as improving their experience at work:

–       Childcare services
–       Vending machines
–       Subsidised canteen
–       Doctor / Dentist clinics
–       Green / Outdoor areas
–       Games rooms
–       Communal couch areas
–       Massage chairs
–       Dress down Friday
–       Bring your dogs/kids to work day

Renew your tech
Use software to automate systems, freeing up more time for staff to do more productive jobs. Make sure you have a dedicated IT person or team to fix software and hardware bugs, so your staff don’t waste valuable time trying to work things out.

Consider noise levels
If ten employees are on the telephone, ten phones are ringing off the hook and ten people are trying to have a meeting, is this a productive workspace or pure chaos? Consider separate meeting areas, soundproofing ceiling tiles and using fabric screens to offer privacy to those who need it. Glass walls may be the solution for your accounts team or anyone else who may require a quiet environment to reduce distractions and improve concentration.

Make light and airy spaces
Make sure your staff have access to fresh air and natural light. This will reduce fatigue, eye strain, the spread of viral infections, headaches caused by artificial lighting and absenteeism. Introduce plants for better air quality.

Movement breaks
Ask your staff to relocate some of the items they use often. This will force them to get up from their workspace frequently and move around. Sitting or standing in one position for prolonged periods can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Simply moving around will rejuvenate fatigued workers.

Ergonomics
Speak to your facilities management department about reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. Some of the usual methods are as follows:
–       Wrist supports for use with mouse and keyboard
–       Screen/monitor supports for posture
–       Footrests for comfort and blood flow
–       Replace telephone handsets with headsets
–       Ergonomic seating to encourage an improved sitting position and posture

Feeling happy and contented at work is contagious, and these simple steps could have a significant impact on your working environment, resulting in higher productivity and more satisfied staff.